Chapter 6

Common Questions from Communities about Exposure to Noise

What are the adverse effects of noise exposure?

Noise affects people differently. Some people are more affected by noise, while others are less so. Adverse effects of noise may include annoyance , sleep disturbance, decreased scholastic performance, and speech interference.

How will noise affect children if a school is located in a high-noise zone?

In buildings without adequate sound insulation, aircraft noise may impact how well school-age children learn. Noise level reduction (NLR) incorporated into building design can help significantly. For example, it is strongly discouraged to construct schools in areas with outside noise levels of 65–75 dB. However, sound-proofing the building can reduce the amount of noise reaching the students. The building should provide enough NLR so that indoor classroom levels do not exceed 45 dB.

How can I reduce noise in my house?

Building material can reduce outdoor noise by 15–25 dB, depending on whether the windows are open or closed. Greater noise reduction may be achieved by caulking and filling exterior openings, installing sound-insulating windows and doors, and adding thermal insulation to outer walls and ceilings.

Will living in a noise zone affect the value of my property?

Property values are determined by a combination of neighborhood characteristics (e.g., the quality of local schools, local property taxes, access to transportation, and the crime rate) and individual housing characteristics (e.g., age of the house, number of rooms, and amenities such as garages). There are no definitive federal standards for quantifying the impact of noise on property values.

How can noise shake my home?

Structural vibrations from military activities are typically caused by airborne sound waves (impulse noise). An airborne sound wave is a force that acts on the external surfaces of a home, causing it to vibrate. This vibration is transmitted through the structure of a home to shelves, dishes, and loose windows, which may cause annoyance and concern.

Will vibrations from military noise damage my home?

It is very unlikely that vibration from military noise will result in structural damage to your home. Common events such as a gust of wind, children running through a house, a door slamming, or typical fluctuations in temperature and atmospheric pressure create strains on buildings that are comparable to or greater than those resulting from military activity.

The military sets procedures and limitations for testing and training operations to prevent such damage from occurring. These limitations are based on various studies that include data on the amount of vibration that would damage a house. According to these studies, sound levels reaching a home or other structure must be greater than 137 dB (peak) to cause any minor cosmetic damage. Even then, there is only a 1-in-10,000 chance that damage will occur—glass and plaster cracks being the most common.